It can spot a potential problem 500 feet away and tell the difference between a red and green light. It can anticipate a corner even before the driver turns the steering wheel. It's designed to prevent a crash but can also make it easier to survive a collision even as it automatically calls for help.
Toyota's Lexus luxury brand is giving the public a first look at its advanced active safety research vehicle at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Also known as the AASRV, it is designed to test and demonstrate a variety of automated vehicle safety technologies that could be used in production vehicles in the not-too-distant future, according to Toyota officials.
"In our pursuit of developing more advanced automated technologies, we believe the driver must be fully engaged," explained Mark Templin, the general manager of the Lexus brand. "For Toyota and Lexus, a driverless car is just a part of the story. Our vision is a car equipped with an intelligent, always-attentive co-pilot whose skills contribute to safer driving." But unlike some prototypes, the AASRV is not designed to operate with complete autonomy. Templin stressed that the goal is to engage and enhance a driver's skills, rather than to turn motoring into a fully automated activity.
The concept behind the AASRV is to view traffic safety as a "holistic blend" of people, vehicles and the driving environment, Toyota said. The technology used in the safety vehicle is designed to act as a back-up to the driver from the moment a car is turned on until it is safely back home — or, in the case of a collision, through the time when rescue and response has occurred after a crash.